Use a tax hammer to get big bankers to understand

President Obama wants to tax the nation’s big banks to recover the $120 billion spent to rescue the financial system. He should. The banks that were put on life support with taxpayer money not only recovered but are making huge profits again. Much of their new wealth came from trading on world markets with money borrowed at rock-bottom rates from the Federal Reserve system, rather than from lending to cash-starved businesses that need credit to revive the economy.
So, yes, sock it to ’em.
And while Congress is at it, it should also slap an excess profits tax on the seven- and eight-figure bonuses those same banks are getting ready to pay their executives — the traders who used Uncle Sam’s cheap money to pile up those profits.
A change of culture is what’s needed.
It should come as no surprise that the money manipulators who take home tens of millions of dollars in salaries and bonuses every year think the current Wall Street culture is peachy keen. Of course they want no change. But it should be equally apparent to the other 99.9 percent of America that perpetuating a system that allows so few to take so much out of an economy in deep recession with a 10.1 percent unemployment rate is as immoral as it is destructive.
President Obama apparently understands that the blunt instrument needed to pound U.S. investment bankers into acceptable shape is the tax code. Taxes can be used to get back the taxpayer money used to keep those banks from failing as a consequence of their undisciplined greed. Taxes can be used to keep investment banks and other corpor-ations from creating an economic royalty that makes a mockery of so many of our democratic values.
Class warfare? You bet. In this corner, those with incomes over $10 million a year. And in this corner, the other 306 million of us. The match seems unequal, but don’t bet the ranch.

— Emerson Lynn, jr.